BBC to introduce paid download store
BBC director general Mark Thompson has announced that the public sector broadcaster is to introduce a paid download store for its programmes.
Codenamed Project Barcelona the iTunes style store will operate in tandem with the existing iPlayer service, allowing viewers to buy programming.
Thompson said: “BBC iPlayer is the most successful and most intensively used catch-up service in the world but it's true that, after that seven day public service window, a large proportion of what the BBC makes and broadcast is never seen or heard of again.
"On television, despite all of our existing forms of public service archival and commercial windowing, the overwhelming majority of what the BBC commissions and broadcasts becomes unavailable when that iPlayer window expires.
"We want to change that and have started to talk to our partners, including the independent sector and PACT, about a proposal which we will formally submit to the BBC Trust later this year which - for reasons which escape me - we call Project Barcelona.
"The idea behind Barcelona is simple. It is that, for as much of our content as possible, in addition to the existing BBC iPlayer window, another download-to-own window would open soon after transmission - so that if you wanted to purchase a digital copy of a programme to own and keep, you could pay what would generally be a relatively modest charge for doing so."
Seeking to allay concerns that that he was introducing a second license fee by stealth Thompson added: “It's the exact analogy of going into a high street shop to buy a DVD or, before that, a VHS cassette.”
No launch date has yet been set for the service.